Today is Boxing Day, when those in service have the day off and get presents from their bosses. Or, in modern times, when the really good post-holiday clearance sales begin.
Anyway, to celebrate, here's a list of books that have people in service.
Cinders & Sapphires by Leila Rasheed. It's 1910. After many years in India, the Averlys are back at Somerton, but whispers of the scandal that caused Lord Westlake his job have followed them. Ada needs to marry well to save the family, but she wants to study at Oxford and the boy who's caught her eye is most unsuitable. Many secrets surround the housekeeper's daughter, Rose, who is also Ada's new lady's maid. A large cast of characters and super gossipy, follow it with Diamonds & Deceit-- it comes out next month.
A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson. Anna's a Russian Countess who's fled communist Russia and landed penniless in London. She's had to take a job as a housemaid in a manor house. Rupert, Earl of Westerholme, was never supposed to be Earl, but his older brother died in the war. Mersham is out of money, and Rupert has to marry for money.
The Luxe by Anna Godbersen. Henry and Elizabeth are about to be married, even though Elizabeth is in love with the stable boy, Elizabeth's little sister is in love with Henry, and Henry keep sleeping with Elizabeth's best frenemy. Her maid, Lina also has big plans of her own. Plus, it's 1899, so the dresses are amazing. Follow it with Rumors.
Black Butler by Yana Toboso. Sebastian is the Butler to Earl Ciel Phantomhive-- a 12-year-old boy who oversees a major toy and candy company. Sebastian seems like the best in his profession, but there are darker secrets at play here that come to light during the long-running manga series.
Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. Trudy is a maid who's in love with her childhood friend, Tips. Tips is secretly a knight, and he's in love with Dizzy, who's a very bored princess. Told in letters, memoirs, diary entries, and encyclopedia entries, the three must work together in order to save the kingdom.
The Traitor in the Tunnel by YS Lee. As part of her work for The Agency--Victorian London's all female spy agency-- Mary Quinn is going undercover as a maid at Buckingham Palace. She's supposed to be investigating a rash of petty thefts, but when the Prince of Wales witnesses a murder in less-than-savory circumstances, she knows there's more to this mystery than originally thought. The third in a series, start with A Spy in the House.
The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats. In 1293, the king offers a good deal to any English who will move to Wales to help keep the land conquered. Cecily's father takes him up on the offer and she's stuck in a strange and backwards land with Gwenhwyfar, an bitter servant who, like most Welsh, is struggling to survive.
A Moment Comes by Jennifer Bradbury. Set against the backdrop of partition, Tariq (a Muslim) wants to study at Oxford and is employed as a translator for a British cartographer. His heart is torn between two forbidden loves-- Margaret (the cartographer's daughter) and Anupreet, a Sikh.
What are your must reads about life in service?
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